13 May 2021

It appears some members did not receive this newsletter last Thursday afternoon. I am resending it, in case you are among them.

Dear {Contact_First_Name}, 

Did you sit glued to the TV when Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the second COVID Federal Budget two nights ago?

Whilst last year’s budget was focused on laying the foundations to ‘save the economy’, this budget seems more focused on maintaining the momentum the Australian economy has established over the past year to secure its recovery.

Science and Technology Australia calls it “a budget with an eye on the future”. “This future-focused Budget charts a path to develop the workforce Australia will need to seize opportunities in next-generation technologies,” said Science & Technology Australia President Associate Professor Jeremy Brownlie.

The new budget includes measures such as

  • $117.8 million over the next four years to deliver Australia’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) Action Plan, as part of the government’s Digital Economy Strategy
  • $22.6 million over six years for 234 scholarships in next generation emerging technologies (such as AI)
  • $1.2 billion for digital economy transformation in measures announced last week
  • $52.4 million over four years for global science and technology collaborations and diplomacy
  • $42.4 million over 7 years to support 230 women in STEM with higher education STEM scholarships including industry placements

and much more, of course. I hope there was something in there for you - be it personally or professionally.

Marie-Louise Rankin
SSA Executive Officer

Read newsletter in your browser

Student top-up scholarships

Earlier this year SSA launched a scheme helping statistics students in Australia with top-up scholarships. These annual scholarships, worth $5,000 each, are awarded to members who are also current higher degree students. We received 17 applications in total, of which 12 were eligible for the scheme. The reviewers were impressed with the high standard of the applications. Given that they were all excellent, the four winners were chosen at random.

We aim to continue this scheme in future years if this initial pilot goes well.”

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2021 top-up scholarships:

  • Elizabeth Korevaar
  • Parinaz Mehdipour
  • Owen Forbes
  • Jiaxin Zhang

Adrian Barnett
SSA Vice President

The ECSSC is offering their 2nd online short course leading up to the conference:

Statistical Shape Analysis via Topological Data Analysis

25 Jul 2021, 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
AEST via Zoom

About the short course:

As modern data applications become complex in size and structure, identifying the underlying shape and structure has become of fundamental importance. The classical approaches such as dimension reduction are challenging for handling these applications. Topological data analysis (TDA) is a rapidly developing collection of methods that focuses on the “shape” of data. TDA can uncover the underlying low-dimensional geometric and topological structures from high-dimensional datasets. TDA has been successfully applied to various areas, including biology, network data, material science, and geology, in recent years. The goal of the lecture is to introduce novel TDA methods that can capture geometric or topological information of data and make statistical inferences. This lecture aims to familiarize these new methods along with their applications to various types of data.

About the presenter:

Chul Moon received his Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of Georgia. He joined the Department of Statistical Science at Southern Methodist University as an Assistant Professor in 2018. His research interests include topological data analysis, empirical likelihood, and ranked set sampling. His research aims to develop statistical methods in biosciences and geosciences. 

Attention Hobart and Tasmanian stats society members!

Please join us on 18 May at 5:30pm, Menzies room 206 to remotely join the Victorian branch meeting (abstract info here). Security is present until 7pm, and due to Covid restrictions, RSVP is required, please click below.  If you can’t make this meeting but are interested in future locations - please also register your interest with me as well and I will be sure to keep you posted! Thank you to the Vic branch for extending an invitation to us to join in, and Menzies for hosting. We are grateful for your support! 

RSVP here

There is one week left before early bird registration closes! 

Register before Wednesday 19 May 2021 to take advantage of the discounted rates.

For more information on early bird registration, please visit the conference website

International Science Festival: Pint of Science

SSA members and colleagues might be interested in a Pint of Science event taking place at 6.30pm AEST on Thursday 20th May. Pint of Science is an international festival which aims to promote science, and the excellent work being conducted in science, to the general public. Although it usually takes place in pubs and bars, due to COVID the festival has gone online this year. However, you can always have a pint at home while watching this free online event!

This live-streamed video panel features some fantastic speakers, including former SSA President, Adrian Barnett, as well as Sophie Calabretto, Asha Rao and Saskia Freytag who will be ‘Highlighting the M in STEM’ by talking about their research, maths anxiety and why maths and statistics are so important for science. If you are interested in coming along, you can register for free here:

Register here

Canberra Branch May meeting with Cristian Rotaru - Jointly held with ABS

Using payroll transaction data: statistical opportunities and challenges

presented online by Cristian Rotaru, Australian Bureau of Statistics

Tuesday 25 May 2021, 6:00pm – 7:00pm AEST 

The unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic trigged a spike in the demand for timely and granular economic and social statistics; policy makers, researchers, and users in general looking at ways to use data to better understand and respond to a rapidly changing environment. In response to these challenges, national statistical offices turned their attention to the use of new and non-traditional data sources and the development of innovative statistical methods.  

This April marked a year since the first release of the Australian payroll jobs and wages – initially, a COVID-19 temporary product, which developed into an ongoing ABS fortnightly series. Key to this series has been the Australian Tax Office (ATO) Single Touch Payroll (STP) data which provides near real-time information on changes in the labour market.

This presentation will provide insights into the statistical underpinnings of the series: the relevant data sources, data processes, and statistical methodologies. It will also reflect on the statistical opportunities and challenges encountered. 

Cristian is Assistant Director and Principal Statistical Analyst at the Australian Bureau of Statistics

This event will be followed by dinner at The talk will be followed by dinner at Pho Hub,  39 Benjamin Way, Belconnen.

For more information and to register, click here

NSW Branch May Meeting: The Science of Survival in Game of Thrones by Dr. Reidar Lystad

26th May 2021, Macquarie University from 6pm AEST.

The Science of Survival in Game of Thrones

This talk will take you on a whirlwind tour behind the scenes of our novel paper examining morality and survival in the world of Game of Thrones. From conception to publication and beyond, this talk will centre around the intersection of survival analysis, popular culture, science communication, and education.

Find out more

2021 Amsi Winter School On Statistical Data Science

Applications Are Now Open For The 2021 Amsi Winter School

AMSI and QUT are proud to present the 2021 Winter School on Statistical Data Science from 12-23 July.

For the first time, the program will be hosted virtually with options for students to attend event hubs in selected states. Boasting an impressive speaker line-up, attendees can delve deeper into modules focusing on Bayesian statistics, modern neural networks, and advanced Markov chains and Monte Carlo methods.

This event is aimed at postgraduate students, early career researchers and industry professionals wanting to sharpen their skills.

Applications are now open and will close at 11.59pm on Sunday 20 June.

Scholarships are also available to AMSI Member students requiring financial assistance to cover program fees. To apply, go to

For any further enquiries, please contact

Program details can be found here

News from the Bayesian Statistics Section

The Bayesian section of SSA would like to bring your attention to the upcoming AMSI Winter School in Statistical Data Science. Applications are now open, and can be submitted through the online portal As a testament to the growing importance of Bayesian statistics in Data Science, this year’s program covers a range of topics critical to implementing and understanding Bayesian statistics. After completing a gentle introduction to Bayesian statistics during week 1 of the program, AMSI students will then learn how to conduct Bayesian inference across a range of situations, using a mix of existing and cutting-edge approaches.

Applications from HDR students, early career researchers, and industry practitioners are encouraged. However, applications from honours students with a suitable background in statistics may also be considered. So, if you are interested in Bayesian statistics, looking to refresh your knowledge, or just curious about the Bayesian statistical paradigm, we strongly encourage you to submit your application!

Also, the registration deadline for the Bayesian Young Statisticians Meeting (BAYSM) has been extended to May 31. This conference will take place online on September 1-3, 2021. It is the official conference of j-ISBA, the junior section of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis (ISBA). Registration and more info at

On behalf of the executive committee, Bayesian Section of SSA

Virtual lecture: Playing God with Virtual Hearts

Dr Brodie Lawson, QUT

Wednesday 26 May, 12pm-1pm AEST

In this lecture, Dr Brodie Lawson demonstrates how mathematical models and computer simulations help us better understand the complexities of the heart. This talk will show the astounding complexity of one of the body’s most important organs, and how through virtual computer simulations, we can come to understand it in new ways that traditional experiments could never reveal.

Underlying the heartbeat is in fact a rich signalling process, in which cells receive electrical stimulus that triggers them to beat. In the normal heartbeat, these stimuli are waves of excitation that travel through the heart, causing each cell to contract in turn and together produce a coordinated pumping motion. The body then controls the heartbeat by choosing how quickly to initiate these waves for example, more rapidly during exercise. Unfortunately, it’s surprisingly easy for this to go wrong. Each heart cell waits for a signal, but can’t tell if a signal was legitimately initiated by the body. When this causes coordination to be lost, the result is arrhythmia, in which heart function is impaired or even lost entirely (ventricular fibrillation). Worse, our treatments for these issues remain unacceptably inconsistent. Understanding why antiarrhythmic medicines or surgeries work for some and not others remains a key question in cardiac physiology.

Please register to receive the zoom link

(Mis)(Dis)information, online social networks, and mathematics

Associate Professor, Lewis Mitchell, University of Adelaide

Wednesday 9 June, 12pm-1pm AEST

In recent years there has been an explosion of concern around terms like “fake news”, “misinformation”, and “disinformation”. And online social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are often implicated (with good reason) in their spread. But what do each of these terms mean, how do they differ, and what role do the online social networks really play? In this talk Associate Professor Lewis Mitchell explores mis/disinformation online, and in particular, some of the underlying mathematics governing how all kinds of information spread over social networks.

Please register to receive zoom link

Previously mentioned....

Get Significance online

As part of your membership of the Statistical Society of Australia you now have online access to Significance through the Wiley Online Library.

Remember, SSA members also get discounted access to print copies of the magazine ($58 for six copies a year for full members, $45 for student members).

Get access to Significance

The Statistical Society is pleased to announce the following online seminar with

Jonathan Rougier (University of Bristol):

Estimating volume from point-referenced thickness measurements

14 May 2021 4:00 PM AEST

About this event:

Accurate sizing of historical volcanic eruptions is challenging, because the deposition process is complicated, and because the remnants of the deposition process are sparse and heavily degraded.  The substantial uncertainty means that point estimates are much less informative than confidence intervals.  I will describe a computationally intensive algorithm for producing a 95% confidence interval for tephra fall volume, using a variety of modern statistical tools.  I will also describe the various R packages and tools that I use.

About the presenter:

Jonathan Rougier is a consulting statistician, formerly Professor of Statistical Science and Head of Statistics in the School of Mathematics, University of Bristol (up to June 2019).  He is a 'full service' statistician, but has worked extensively in Earth and Environmental Science.  He is the 2021 recipient of the Royal Statistical Society Barnett Award for Environmental Statistics.

Learn more

NSW Branch - ANZSC 2021 and ECSSC 2021 Registration Grants

The SSA NSW Branch is now accepting registration grant applications for the Australian and New Zealand Statistical Conference (ANZSC 2021, 5th – 9th July 2021) and the Early Career and Student Statistician Conference 2021 (ECSSC 2021, 26th July 2021 – 1st August 2021). 

Applications can be submitted electronically to the Secretary of the SSA NSW Branch on or before Monday, 14th June 2021.

Find out more

Interested in Biostatistics or Bioinformatics?

The SSA Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Section are now accepting expressions of interest (EOIs) for new committee members that have a passion for biostatistics and/or bioinformatics, who want to continue to shape the direction of the Section and, ultimately, promote the field within Australia.

To be eligible to apply, you must be or willing to become an SSA member and be working in the field of biostatistics and/or bioinformatics. We welcome both non-academic and academic affiliations. Expected commitment would involve participation in teleconference once every 6 weeks and a few hours between meetings to assist in Section tasks, such as minuting the meeting, organising workshops & events, social media engagement and developing the quarterly newsletter. Please submit an EOI before 31st May 2021 or for more information contact Nicole De La Mata.

CPD Survey - Last chance!

Thank you to everyone who has already completed this year's CPD survey. For everyone else this is just a gentle reminder that CPD Committee of the Statistical Society of Australia (SSA) is conducting a survey to understand the courses or workshops or mentorships our members are interested in.  

We invite you to complete the survey, if you are yet to do so, and we appreciate your time and feedback. It would be great if you would please complete the survey by 15 May 2021

Kind regards, 

CPD Committee of the SSA

Start the survey

SSA Workshop: Convex Optimization for Statistical and Machine Learning with CVXR
24 Jul 2021, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM AEST via Zoom 

This is an ECSSC 2021 satellite workshop.

Optimization plays an important role in fitting many statistical models. Some examples include least squares, ridge and lasso regression, Huber regression, and support vector machines. CVXR is an R package that provides an object-oriented modeling language for convex optimization. 

Workshop presenter: Anqi Fu, Stanford University. 

Please click here for more information and to register.

Shutdowns And Slow-Downs: Detecting Anomalies In Granular Internet
Activity Data, At Global Scale

 18 May 2021, 6:00 PM AEST, online

SSA Vic is pleased to have A/Prof Simon Angus talk to us about the
internet activity data and what the analysis reveals about human
activity. We hope you join us!

For more information click here

Victoria Branch Offering Financial Support for Events

Dear SSA Vic members, 

SSA Vic are proud and happy to announce that we will once again be offering financial support to our members for the attendance of statistical workshops, conferences, winter/summer schools and short courses; both national and international, in 2021. This includes for example, the ANZSC 2021 , the ECSSC 2021 and AMSI Winter School.  

Members are invited to apply for funding via one of the two schemes: 

1.     (Conferences 2021) We are offering up to $200 of total funding, per member, for the registration and travel expenses associated with attendance of national and international conferences; or

2.     (Summer & Winter Schools/Short Courses/Workshops 2021) We are offering up to $150 of total funding, per member, for the registration cost of short courses or workshops for their statistical development. 

Learn more

ECSSC Science Communication Series

ECSSC Science Communication Series: Visualising Your Data

26 May 2021, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM AEST AEST via Zoom

This workshop will focus on the key aspects of creating high quality graphics suitable for conference presentations. Associate Professor Sue Finch will discuss the principles of graphical excellence, and how we can use these to produce engaging and easily interpretable graphics.

If you are registered for ECSSC you can attend this event at no additional cost, but you will need to register. 

Register here

ECSSC Science Communication Series: Honing Your Pitch

16 Jun 2021, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM AEST via Zoom

Discover techniques to effectively convey your research in a short period of time. In this interactive workshop, Dr Will Grant will cover how to concisely present what you do, how you do it and why without losing the importance of your work.

If you are registered for ECSSC you can attend this event at no additional cost, but you will need to register.

Register here

SSA Canberra "rego grants" for upcoming ANZSC and ECSSC Conferences!

SSA Canberra is inviting student statisticians and data scientists who are student members or join as student members of SSA Canberra branch, and are planning to either:

+ Attend and present a talk or poster at the Australia and New Zealand Statistical Conference on 5-9 July online (ANZSC 2021), or
+ Attend and present a talk or poster at the Early Career and Student Statisticians Conference on 26 July to 1 August 2021 online (ECSSC 2021)

to apply for financial support in the form of a "registration grant".

Deadline: 31 May 2021

Find out more

2021 Dennis Trewin Prize - Call for nominations

SSA Canberra are calling for nominations for the 2021 Dennis Trewin prize! The prize, named after the former Australian Statistician Dennis Trewin, is awarded annually for outstanding postgraduate research in statistics or data science.

If you have innovative research from your research degree that is of interest to statisticians and/or data scientists, we strongly encourage you to apply!

Please submit an abstract of your research work to by Friday 14th May. You will also need to provide proof of enrolment at the university that the research was undertaken in.

Learn more

If you have news from the Australian statistical community to share in Stats Matters and Events, please get in touch with us! We love getting feedback too.

Statistical Society of Australia |  PO Box 213 Belconnen ACT 2616 Australia 

02 6251 3647 |